BLU-RAY REVIEW: PUMPKINHEAD 2

By Nick Durham

Do you enjoy needless sequels to beloved horror films that have no right to exist and only serve to squander any promise or good will that was made with the first one? If so, you’re gonna be head over fucking heels with Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings. Released in 1994 (and filmed in 1993) and directed by Jeff Burr (who knows a bit about needless sequels since he also directed Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and The Stepfather 2), Pumpkinhead 2 features more demonic small town shenanigans that seem to have little to do with anything that took place in Stan Winston’s original film, other than the titular vengeance-driven creature, who looks nowhere near as creepy or scary here, despite featuring effects work from KNB. But really how bad can this movie be? Well, Scream Factory has decided to give it the Blu-ray treatment, so let’s find out.

Pumpkinhead 2 focuses on small town sheriff Braddock (Hellraiser‘s Andrew Robinson) who returns to his home town along with his wife and teenage daughter Jenny (Ami Dolenz, suffering from 90s hair). Soon enough, Jenny begins hanging out with a crew of 90s cool kids/bad kids/toolbags (including Return of the Living Dead 3‘s J. Trevor Edmund and Punky Brewster star Soleil Moon Frye) who end up running afoul of a local old witch (not Haggis). Soon enough, Pumpkinhead is reborn thanks to the soul of a tortured deformed teenager, and he begins taking out those responsible for killing him back in the 50s before focusing on the crew of 90s toolbag teenagers. Got all that?

To put it bluntly, Pumpkinhead 2 is a slog to get through. It shifts between being boring and unintentionally funny, with plenty of cliches and predictable story twists along the way as well. It lacks the emotional depth that the original film had, and we don’t care one ounce about any character’s fate. Hell, in all honesty, I was flat out hoping that everyone would seriously fucking die. Not to mention the fact that the look and feel of the film comes off as being cheap. Now I know the original Pumpkinhead didn’t exactly have a large budget, but it overcame those limitations thanks to the fact that the film had heart and soul to it, where as Pumpkinhead 2 has the heart and soul of being a cheap knock off, which is exactly what it is. Between unlikable characters, shitty plotting, atrocious dialogue, and a score that sounds like someone gave a four year old child a bag full of sugar and let him go apeshit on a Casio keyboard, this movie is one pure fucking turd. Genre stalwarts Kane Hodder and Linnea Quigley (I recognized her by her rib cage I swear) are here in blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos, but even they don’t help this amount to being anything other than a turd of a sequel that no one asked for.

Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Pumpkinhead 2 features a half decent transfer of the film, as well as a handful of special features. These features include an interview with director Jeff Burr, and a retrospective about recreating the monster featuring Greg Nicotero. It seems everyone involved thought the film would turn out to be more fun than it actually was, but at the end of the day, did anyone really expect an unwanted sequel to Pumpkinhead to be anything more than a steaming turd of celluloid?

Even though Scream Factory gave the film a half decent Blu-ray release, I implore you to skip Pumpkinhead 2. It’s a needless sequel that no one was clamoring for, and it isn’t helped by the fact that the film is a cheap mess from beginning to end. You know what’s worse though? There’s even more needless Pumpkinhead sequels out there, and even those pieces of shit are better than this fucking train wreck.

Rating: 1/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: CREEPSHOW 2

By Nick Durham

George Romero and Stephen King’s 1982 collaboration Creepshow is a horror classic. It’s a super fun horror anthology with studio backing, big name actors, and wonderful effects work. The film became a pretty big hit upon release, so it wasn’t that baseless a conclusion that we’d eventually get a sequel. Well, we did in 1987, for better or worse. Creepshow 2 features less stories, less scares, and overall less fun than its predecessor, but for what it’s worth, it still manages to be a pretty fun ride; even if it manages to be painfully obviously inferior to the first film from it’s opening scene onwards.  Arrow Video has decided to give the film a super deluxe Blu-ray treatment, which is a sight to behold to say it lightly.

 

Creepshow 2 finds Romero and King taking a bit of a backseat compared to their roles with the first film, with longtime Romero cinematographer Michael Gornick taking over directing duties and Romero himself writing the screenplay with stories based on short King tales. We get three stories here: the fairly yawn-inducing Old Chief Wood’nhead which is a tale of revenge featuring George Kennedy, the pretty damn good The Raft (in fact, it’s probably the best segment here), and the concluding The Hitchhiker that is fairly memorable in itself. There were supposed to be two additional stories (to match the first film’s five segments) entitled Cat from Hell and Pinfall; both of which were cut due to the film’s budgetary constraints. Cat from Hell would end up getting filmed some time later by Romero himself for the Tales from the Darkside movie, while Pinfall never officially saw the light of day in film form. The film’s wraparound story is an animated (with a little live action) segment of a young kid named Billy encountering the Creeper himself (Tom Savini) and giving some local bullies their comeuppance.

 

As I already stated, Creepshow 2 is definitely an inferior sequel. The film as a whole just feels cheaper than the first film in terms of overall quality and content alike. That aside, it’s still super enjoyable for what it is, and has a very brisk pace and manages to make its own impact. The animated wrap around segment can be a bit of a chore to watch. There’s even a Stephen King cameo in The Hitchhiker, which in itself is a hoot.

 

Arrow’s Blu-ray release of Creepshow 2 features a bevy of special features. The film itself is restored in 2K HD and features the original uncompressed mono audio. There’s a commentary track from director Michael Gornick, and archival interviews with FX legends Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. There’s another interview segment with Berger discussing FX master (and his mentor) Rick Baker, and a handful of other behind the scenes features as well. There’s a handful of trailers for the film, and a booklet is included as well featuring new essays on the film. You have two options in purchasing the film, with either the standard edition Blu-ray release that comes with all this, or the super limited edition which includes all these features plus a comic book featuring an adaptation of the never-filmed Pinfall segment. Good luck finding this edition for a low price though. I had preordered mine through Amazon some time ago when it first became available, and I’m very glad I did.

 

Looking back on it, Creepshow 2 is a fun, if super flawed, sequel to a horror anthology classic. It isn’t perfect and is definitely inferior, but on its own the film is a pretty enjoyable ride. Arrow’s Blu-ray is definitely a must have for fans of the film, as this is without a doubt the best the film has ever looked and sounded. Pick up the limited edition if you can find it without having to sell your first born child (or do it anyway, kids are awful), but no matter which version you get, you’ll be happy with what you find here. Now maybe someday we’ll get that super deluxe edition of the original film that we’ve been chomping at the bit for over for years.

 

Rating: 4/5